Positive Lifestyle Habits

 


PART TWO

Positive Lifestyle Habits


Introduction

Higher states of vibration will help you feel good, which means you can manifest more good things in your life.

Your aim is to feel better by vibrating higher. There are many lifestyle habits that will help you do this and bring you closer to a more loving and joyful state.

You can change your emotional state through all sorts of activities that will raise your vibration, some of which will have a lasting effect while others may make you feel good only in the moment.

For example, if you feel upset because you’ve fallen out with a friend, you might be able to change your emotional state by doing something fun with other friends instead. Other ways you might raise your vibration include physical touch with a loved one, laughing, listening to uplifting music, spreading kindness, sleeping deeply, moving your body or any other activity that you enjoy. But afterwards you might be left to face your misery again. Nothing has improved in your mind; you have just temporarily avoided the problem.

Alternatively, the practice of meditation can, over time, completely change the way your brain functions. Meditation and the introspective act of studying your low-vibration emotions can help you transform these to higher-vibration emotions. Thus, meditation might help you view the fallout with your friend in a more positive way. (We’ll spend more time exploring meditation further on.) Since everything is energy, you could say that everything you engage with will affect your vibration somehow. But new actions and changing your mindset in a positive way are also elements of self-love, to become the best – and happiest – person you can be.

There are also new actions we can take to make ourselves feel better that may seem to work only for a short while to begin with, but when carried out consistently over a long period of time become habits that reap lasting results.


Surround yourself with positive people

Surround yourself with people who are vibin’ higher than you. Be around people who are feeling better than you are. Energy is contagious.

When you’re not feeling too good, try being around people who are. They’re vibrating higher than you and there’s a good chance that you can absorb some of their energy. Just as the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii has been found by researchers to draw energy from other plants, my experience suggests that there’s great potential for humans to do something very similar.

Have you ever met someone for the first time and felt like something isn’t quite right about them? You can’t quite put your finger on it but you just get a bad vibe, and usually you find out later on that there was a good reason for this feeling. Energy doesn’t lie.

You’ve probably experienced the opposite, too. There are certain people who we identify as being full of positive energy. They always seem to infect those around them with their good vibes. I’ve changed my emotional state many times just by being around cheerful people.

Positive people can also provide empowering perspectives on our problems. Being in a positive state, they’re more likely to have an optimistic outlook on what we’re going through. They’ll try to look for the positives in the situation and help us change our focus to something that lifts our vibe.

So, make a commitment to build meaningful and lasting relationships with positive people. When you spend more time with people who add value to your life and elevate your mood, you’ll begin to adopt their encouraging thinking patterns and reflect their vibrations back at them.

The Law of Vibration suggests that we attract people who are vibrating on the same frequency as us. So, if we can begin to experience more positive emotions on a regular basis as a result of other people, we’ll attract even more positive people into our life, thus reinforcing the good vibes around us.


Change your body language

It’s hard to crack a smile when things are going wrong. But a 2003 study by Simone Schnall and David Laird showed that if you fake a smile, you can actually trick your brain into thinking you’re happy by releasing feel-good hormones called endorphins. 6

This might seem a little wacky at first. If smiling for no reason feels too strange, then find a reason to smile. You could smile at the prospect of your smile itself making someone else feel happier. They might smile back at you, giving you a genuine reason to keep your smile alive.

In fact, our entire body and physiology can affect our thoughts and feelings. By changing our outer state, we can change our inner state. It may also surprise you to learn that the vast majority of messages that we give other people are non-verbal, such as facial expressions, gestures or even the way we hold ourselves while we’re talking. For this reason, it’s important that we try to think about the messages we’re conveying with our body language.

If I told you to show me how someone would appear if they were depressed, you’d probably know exactly how to portray them: you’d slump with your head down, looking grim. If I asked you to show me how someone would appear if they were angry, you could do that with ease, too.

Now think about how a person who is happy and feels high on life would appear. What would their facial expression be like? How would they be standing? Is there a particular way they’d be moving? Where might their hands be? Are they likely to be making any gestures? What tone would their voice take? How fast or slow would they be talking?

If you can act like someone who feels good, your internal state will change and your vibration will rise.

You might be concerned that this is an unhealthy way to raise your vibration. But the idea that you can ‘fake it ’til you make it’ has been proven many times. For example, Muhammad Ali famously said, ‘To be a great champion, you must believe you are the best. If you’re not, pretend you are.’ Take Ali’s fight with Sonny Liston: before the fight Ali was an underdog, but he chose to act like he was going to whop Liston – boasting and bragging about it to fans – and, in the fight, he did.

Social psychologist Amy Cuddy is renowned for her work on how body language not only affects how others see us, but also how we see ourselves. A report co-authored by Cuddy claims that simply by doing one of three poses related to power for only two minutes a day, you can create a 20 percent increase in the confidence hormone testosterone and a 25 percent decrease in the stress hormone, cortisol.7 The so-called ‘power poses’ are a quick and easy way to feel more powerful, says the report.

Some people get the wrong end of the stick and pretend to have some particular asset or talent to seek attention from others so that they can feel better about themselves. But if you simply act a particular way to enhance your confidence and feel better about where you’re going, it becomes a useful technique. This imagined confidence will then gradually start to become genuine confidence, and the closer you get to it through matching vibrations, the more genuine it becomes.

Take some time out

Don’t underestimate the importance of taking time to relax. Sometimes, we get so caught up in our lives and what’s going on around us that we become overwhelmed and tense.

The simple solution is to unwind and keep some distance from the things that are stressing you out. Don’t be afraid to spend some time alone. I’ve noticed that sometimes you can feel peopled out. If you’re an introvert, this feeling might be quite common. You feel like everyone wants a piece of you and it just gets too much.

If you’re living with a spouse, friends or family, this might seem a little cruel. It’s not that you dislike them, or that you’re even fed up with them. It’s just that you need a break: a chance to breathe and recharge. You just need to be alone for a while. That’s perfectly acceptable and doesn’t make you any less loving.

It’s also easy to feel overstimulated by the media and social media, and in need of a period of rest from these things, too.

How can you tell if you need a break?

Well, here’s an example. If someone tries to do something nice for you, yet you feel like they’re trying too hard or they’re all up in your space, it might be a sign that you’re all peopled out. Yes, you might feel bad, because you know this person has good intentions. But you just want them to stop.

In Mexican Spanish, the word engentado describes this particular feeling. It refers to the feeling of wanting to be away from people after spending time with them.

Although you shouldn’t let your mood dictate your manners, neither should you feel bad for wanting to disconnect for a bit. It’s not only beneficial for you, but for others, too. The longer you stay peopled out without a recharge, the higher the chance that you’ll lower other people’s vibrations.

It’s also very powerful to spend some time in nature. In this day and age, it’s increasingly difficult to navigate through life without technology. However, being out in nature can help to replenish and rejuvenate your entire being. A research study published in 1991 found that natural environments had recuperative effects by bringing about positive emotional states and encouraging psychological wellbeing. 8

Sometimes you have to unplug yourself from the world for a moment, so you can reset yourself.

You don’t have to make this complicated. You could go outside for a walk, do some work in your garden, go and sit under a tree, or gaze up at the stars. If the sun is shining, absorbing some rays of light can help boost your vitamin D and levels of serotonin, a ‘happy’ hormone that acts as a natural mood stabilizer.


Find some inspiration

Inspiration keeps me driven and optimistic. Nowadays, there are so many ways that we can get inspired. Self-help books, newspapers or empowering novels like The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho are great, as are myriad digital sources of inspiration such as podcasts. Don’t underestimate the power of a great inspirational movie, either. I personally find The Pursuit of Happyness, starring actor Will Smith, very uplifting.

I remember one particular period during which I felt completely lost in life. I’d just left a job to pursue my own business, selling inspirational T-shirts. I’d invested my own money, and to my dismay they weren’t selling as well as I’d hoped. I thought they were going to be sold out within days. I’d read all these business textbooks, spent hours on fashion blogs and felt like I had all the knowledge required to a run a successful company and bring something innovative to the fashion world. However, my reality was proving otherwise.

I was beginning to lose faith in myself and my abilities. I questioned my direction in life and, on top of this, my mum saw that I was struggling and told me I should get another job as I needed to make money to live on and help out at home. The pressure felt immense.

When you begin to doubt your abilities, you can quickly fall deep into a sea of misery. You begin to experience all the lower vibrational states and this can be damaging.

I knew I had to do something. So I listened to various personal development audiobooks, picked up some more self-help books, streamed online videos and read articles, quotes and blog posts. I even started speaking to entrepreneurial friends I’d met via social media.

I started learning about other people’s hardships and how they overcame them, even when the odds were against them. I started to feel inspired and my self-belief grew. These stories were demonstrating that my failure wasn’t final. Anyone who has accomplished anything great has faced big challenges or failures. But they’re only final if you quit. 

Admittedly, my T-shirt business didn’t work out. But it sparked changes, ones that benefited me hugely. When you’re inspired, you find drive and you feel good about where you’re going and what’s possible in your life.


Stay clear of gossip and drama

Drama is for TV, not for real life. Don’t play a part in someone else’s episode in which they are the only star.

At some point, everyone will find themselves taking part in gossip. Sometimes, they won’t even realize that they’re doing it. The worst part is that most people actually enjoy it; they don’t think they’re being judgemental and see gossiping as harmless. They just love the excitement of hearing juicy rumours about those around them and passing them on – then getting a reaction. And this makes gossiping a great way to lower your vibration!

Regardless, spreading gossip preys on our ego: we do it to try to feel good about ourselves; to feel superior to others. It’s very often judgemental, and most judgements stem from hatred, which is a low vibrational state that will only lead to you inviting unpleasant experiences into your life.

As we’ve already established, every thought and word holds a powerful vibration. When we discuss others in a negative way, we’re sending negative energy out into the Universe. As a result, this lowers our own vibration, resulting in toxic events in our lives that will reproduce ill feelings. Ayurvedathe ancient Indian medical system, says gossiping affects some of our energy centres, known as chakras. This actively restricts us from ascending to higher vibrational states.

News outlets profit from gossip by publicizing other people’s misfortune. Luckily for them, some people buy into it. As a result, it’s become socially acceptable to discuss other people. Yet everyone knows they wouldn’t like it if they were the subject of gossip.

So, distance yourself from conversations about others, or try to direct the discussion to something more positive. You’ll notice that, more often or not, people who spend their time gossiping are the ones who seem to complain or find comfort in misery. If you join them in their habits, you’ll gradually become disillusioned with life, too.

Similarly, getting swept up in unnecessary drama can heighten both stress and anxiety. This puts you in a lower emotional state and, as you already know by now, this reflects undesirably on your life. Why give up your joy?

I’ve learned to avoid drama at all costs because it does nothing good for me. I once came across a high-drama person who attempted to argue with me about a point I’d made. Ironically, my point had been that we should walk away from fights because they can destruct our peace, but he didn’t believe that we should. When I kindly told him that I respected our differences and we should move on, he got angry. If I’d felt he was actually interested in my perspective, I’d have been happy to share it and listen to his. However, he only wanted to argue, to prove me wrong and drag me down.

His ears were shut and his mouth was open: he wasn’t ready to learn, only to dictate. Our beliefs were different and he got really worked up by it. To him, I was spreading false information and creating further suffering in the world with my viewpoint. This anger was followed by personal abuse directed towards me, particularly since I wouldn’t take part in his battle. I simply stayed silent and observed, until I could distance myself.

It didn’t seem like this person cared deeply for other people’s wellbeing, or that he wanted to prevent suffering in the world. His aggressive behaviour contradicted his points. He simply needed to justify why he was right and that his way was the only way. My beliefs shattered his truth that we should always fight back, and without that truth, his identity became threatened.

This is the work of the ego. Your ego is your self-image created by thought. It’s your social mask, one that constantly requires validation because it lives in fear of losing its sense of identity. When you’re upset because someone doesn’t like you, it’s your ego operating: you validate your existence based on their approval.

When they disapprove of you, you no longer feel good about who you are.

Our ego always wants to feel significant and adored. It seeks instant gratification. It wants to feel more powerful than other people.

It’s the reason people buy things they don’t need – to impress people they don’t even care about. It’s the reason we become bitter about other people’s successes. It’s the reason greed exists and why we’re constantly striving to outdo others. It prevents us from acting with love and understanding.

Unfortunately, many of us identify ourselves with a certain image throughout our lives that’s created by our ego, and we have to keep on maintaining and protecting it. If others don’t approve of the image of ourselves that we’ve created, our identity becomes threatened and the ego will fear for its protection, just as in the case here. My beliefs forced that person to question his own beliefs and therefore question his identity, which imposed a threat. This is why he was so quick to get defensive and to attack.

This happens a lot in life because of ego. People don’t say or ask things out of curiosity; they simply want to prove others wrong. They want people to follow their truth, not because they necessarily care about others, but because they fear being wrong and not knowing who they are. There are a lot of high-drama people in the world who seem to thrive in these toxic conditions.

I try to keep an open mind and to listen to other people’s perspectives. However, I’ve also learned not to waste time on people who have no interest in what I have to say, or why I say it. You must make sure that you don’t involuntarily take part in the internal battles of others.

Discussing problems and sharing information is fine when the intention doesn’t stem from the desire to make yourself feel superior through the belittlement of others. This provides a false sense of self and consequently lowers your vibe.

There are better ways to spend your time than gossiping or involving yourself in dramas. Instead, try to focus on your own life and on trying to improve it. Time is precious and you should be investing it wisely by doing something constructive that will make your life greater.


Sort out your nutrition and water

What you consume, consumes you; what consumes you, controls your life. 

Everything you eat and drink is important, as it affects your vibration and reality. Think about it: how can you feel good if you don’t ingest good foods and good fluids?

The foods that leave us feeling sleepy and sluggish are those that vibrate at a lower frequency. Hence, when we eat them, our vibration also changes. A lot of these foods are junk foods – and, unfortunately, they’re engineered to taste great. For this reason, some of us tend to overindulge in the bad stuff, and it doesn’t just dampen our mood but also adds on extra pounds and makes us vulnerable to illness.

In 1949, a French electromagnetism expert called André Simoneton published his research on the electromagnetic waves of particular foods. He realized that each food not only has a particular amount of calories (chemical energy), but also an electromagnetic power that’s vibrational. 

Simoneton discovered that humans must maintain a vibration of 6500 angstroms for them to be deemed healthy (an angstrom is a unit measuring 100 millionth of a centimetre, used to express the size of electromagnetic wavelengths).

Simoneton divided the foods into four categories, according to a scale of zero to 10,000 angstroms.

The first category was full of high-vibration foods, including fresh fruits and raw vegetables, wholegrains, olives, almonds, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, soy and coconut.

The second category had lower-vibration foods, such as boiled vegetables, milk, butter, eggs, honey, cooked fish, peanut oil, sugar cane and wine.

The third category consisted of foods with very low vibrations, among them cooked meats, sausages, coffee and tea, chocolate, jams, processed cheeses and white bread.

The fourth and final category exhibited practically no angstroms and included margarine, conserves, alcoholic spirits, refined white sugar and bleached flour.

Simoneton’s research provides us with insight into which foods are good for our vibration and which ones we should avoid.

In addition, as a general rule, good-quality organic produce, as intended by nature, will keep you feeling more vitalized than non-organic foods. The price of organic food can be high but the expense may turn out to be less of a sacrifice than your health, if this deteriorates due to eating unhealthy foods.

We should also consider the importance of water. It’s estimated that around 60–70 per cent of your whole body is composed of water, and it’s essential to your body’s functioning: it keeps you hydrated and flushes away unwanted toxins, and this will keep you at a higher vibrational state. If the water balance in your body falls below the necessary amount, your body will react adversely. You may be unable to focus, feel dizzy and even become unconscious.

Simoneton’s research showed alcoholic spirits to be very low-vibration, and regular consumption of excessive amounts can be very harmful and even cause death through liver damage. Too much alcohol also creates false perception, which may lead you to behave in a way you normally wouldn’t – this can lead to bad choices that might be damaging to your life. Alcohol might provide a few moments of pleasure, but you must moderate how much of it you consume.

Make fresh, filtered water your primary source of fluid.


Express gratitude

Before you complain about school, remember that some people can’t even get an education. 

Before you complain about getting fat, remember that some people don’t even have any food.

Before you complain about your job, remember that some people don’t even have any money.

Before you complain about cleaning the house, remember that some people don’t even have any shelter.

Before you complain about washing the dishes, remember that some people don’t even have any water.

Before you complain about all these things on social media using your smartphone, without any consideration of how blessed you are, just be thankful for a minute.

Being thankful is one of the simplest, and yet most powerful, habits you can cultivate. By counting your blessings daily, you can begin to condition your mind to look for the good in everything around you. Soon enough, you’ll unconsciously begin to see the bright side of things and feel better about life.

You can’t feel bad while you’re feeling thankful. As simple as showing gratitude sounds, most people struggle with it. It’s much easier to focus on burdens than on gifts; to devote your attention to the things you don’t have, rather than the things you do have.

I was once studying some of the most successful individuals on this planet, and one phrase really stuck with me: ‘Greatness starts with being grateful’. I didn’t think too much of it at the time, but as I’ve grown older I’ve begun to understand its value. I’ve realized that you can’t feel joy without being thankful; being thankful is a vital component of happiness.

Furthermore, by expressing gratitude, we not only transform our vibrational state to become more magnetic to the good things, but we also become able to put things into perspective. We go through each day constantly comparing ourselves to others, and most of us rarely acknowledge that we have what others may desire. We also tend to compare ourselves to those we consider more fortunate than us, rather than those who are less fortunate. Just think of the amount of people who have to live through war on a daily basis. But we’re completely safe from such troubles, and many more that we hear about in the news.

It’s easy to say ‘thanks’ without really meaning it. The key to showing gratitude is to feel thankful. I’ll use my coaching client Will as an example to illustrate how you can reach a true state of gratitude.

After Will had started by reeling off a list of all of his problems, I asked him to tell me what he was thankful for. His response was that he couldn’t think of anything!

I knew his car meant a lot to him, so I asked, ‘How about your car?’

He replied, ‘Yeah, I’m thankful for my car, I guess.’ This level of gratitude is a nice start, but it doesn’t really change our state.

Then I asked Will what it would mean if he didn’t have his car. He sat there for a moment and thought about it. Then he began to list things: ‘I wouldn’t be able to go to work, pick up the groceries, go and see my friends… and I wouldn’t be able to pick up my kids from school.’

I could see his state changing as he started naming these things and envisioning them in his mind. I then went a step further and asked, ‘What would it mean if you weren’t able to pick up your kids?’

He replied, ‘Well, they’d have to walk back home or take the bus.’ 

I pressed, ‘And how would that walk back be for them?’

Suddenly, he imagined them walking back in the cold weather. Will knew they’d be unsafe. And he was visibly unsettled.

After a few moments, he thought back to when he was a kid and how he used to get bullied on the bus home. This was when it hit him. He took a heavy breath. I could see the relief on his face as he thought back to his car. He finally admitted how grateful he was that he not only had a car, but also that it helped him improve the lives of those he loved. His state completely transformed and I observed the shift in his body language.

When practising gratitude, imagine how different your life would be without that particular thing you’re showing thanks for. It will produce strong feelings and emotions. And this is how you can get into a powerful state of gratitude.

Remember, there might be many things in your world that are going wrong. Yet there are also many things that are going right.

The more you count your blessings, the more blessings you’ll have to count.

Here’s a short story. During my time working in an office, I had a manager who I didn’t see eye to eye with, and we both made work difficult for each other. However, as he had more authority, he always had the upper hand.

For months I let his actions affect my mood and therefore how I acted. I reacted with resentment, I gossiped about him, I hated going into work and I continued to emit all these negative thoughts and feelings out into the Universe. As a result, things just got worse – much worse!

I wanted to distance myself from him, but he sat right beside me, so I couldn’t. Even when I did manage to get away from him, he’d find a way to provoke me. Back then, I wasn’t afraid to vocalize how I felt, even if it was going to sound sour. I had no problem telling him he had no leadership qualities, which obviously didn’t make things any better.

After viewing some online videos from spiritual teacher Esther Hicks, I realized that I was utilizing my energy in the wrong way. I was aware that the problem was there, but I was feeding the problem rather than focusing on a solution – once I started to do that, things started to get better.

I made a conscious effort to show gratitude for having a job that paid well. I knew how difficult it was just to find a job, but especially one with a generous salary; my salary enabled me to enjoy many comforts in life. I regularly reminded myself of these things to ensure I was in a state of appreciation – a high vibrational state.

A few months later, my manager was promoted to another team. I also got a pay rise while experiencing much more freedom at work. This period was among my favourite in this job. Simply because I’d decided to feel good, I was given rewards that made me feel even better!

Too many of us direct our energy towards our fears. I’m not saying your problems don’t exist, but try instead to focus your energy on solutions to those problems. The Universe is abundant in all areas; the illusion of fear is the only limitation we have.


Study your emotions

Ignoring negative emotions is like keeping poison in your system. Learn to understand everything that you feel. The aim isn’t to force positive thoughts, but to transform the negative ones into something healthier, so you can feel better.

Our dominant thoughts significantly influence our emotions; they’re crucial to how we feel. The issue many of us have when we try to become positive thinkers is that we ignore the transformation process. We assume that it’s better to wipe out negative thoughts, numb our feelings and move on to more positive ideas. This is often ineffective because you’re just trying trick yourself into thinking things are okay, when your true feelings suggest otherwise. Repressed feelings can become toxic within your system and can eventually cause damage.

If a venomous thought sits deep within your mind, it will reappear when you experience a similar situation in the future. Not only will this lower your vibration, but the continuity of this pattern can also damage your mental health, and in turn your physical health. You may also become extremely toxic for others to be around, making you lonely and further adding to your misery.

So don’t suppress your negative emotions. Instead, transform them so you can raise your vibration – not just now, but for all similar events in the future. Understanding your emotions will allow you to transform them from a low vibration to a high vibration over and over again. This is why introspection is so important to personal development.

For example, a client of mine called Sarah had started talking to a new love interest. A few days into messaging and calling each other, he went quiet. She waited by her phone, expecting him to text her back, but he didn’t. As a result, the dominant thought in her head said, ‘No one is interested in me or has time for me because I’m ugly.’ This made her feel sad.

Sarah needed to turn her negative emotions back into positive ones, so we followed my step-by-step method for achieving this.

How to transform negative emotions

1. Identify: to change your emotional state, you must identify what emotion you’re feeling. In Sarah’s example, she felt sad and afraid. After delving deeper, we identified that Sarah also felt neglected and insecure.

2. Challenge: the next step would be to question yourself: Why do you feel the way you do? What thoughts are responsible for this?

Sarah felt sad because she didn’t get a text back. The thought that played back to her was that no one had time for her or was interested in her because she was ugly. This made her feel lonely and insecure.

At this stage, you have consciously begun to observe your thoughts. A lot of the beliefs we have are based on exaggeration, misconception and opinions imposed on us by other people. Therefore, we can challenge these erroneous ideas and judgements in our mind. We can analyse our thought processes and change our negative thought patterns to more positive ones, in a logical way.

Begin to challenge the beliefs behind your thoughts by questioning their validity. For example, Sarah asked herself: Is it true that no one has time for me because I’m ugly? In thinking deeply about this question, Sarah began to learn a lot about why she felt the way she did. At this stage, you can ask questions that force you to dig deeper. You can also ask extreme questions, because they’ll inspire extreme answers. In our example, Sarah went on to ask herself: Does this mean I’ll never be happy?

Sarah pondered on these questions and saw that she was exaggerating the situation. One man failing to text her back didn’t mean that she’d never be happy. She was reminded that her joy wasn’t dependent on how others interacted with her.

Posing questions to yourself can reveal limitations in your thinking, as they did for Sarah. You’ll begin to realize that you have made false assumptions and focused on the negative aspects of situations in your life.

Try it. Perhaps bring up a past experience that made you unhappy, and ask yourself direct questions that help you get to the heart of the matter. It’s important to realize that we create our own sadness by attaching negative conclusions to these past experiences in our subconscious mind. Here we must challenge these conclusions, which are stored as lessons. Failing to correct the negative lessons means they’re replayed in your subconscious mind. Over time, these lessons on repeat can weigh you down and induce depression.

3. Understand: This step is all about appreciating the deeper meaning behind the emotion. In our example, Sarah found that she was feeling insecure as a result of her recent experience. She started to worry that she wasn’t good enough. During the days when her love interest was texting back, she felt better about herself. It was clear that she had a high need for social acceptance and approval.

You must recognize the deeper meanings behind your feelings and make use of them as opportunities to grow. Sarah determined her worth based on what others thought because she had low self-esteem. She needed to be valued and accepted to feel better about herself.

4. Replace: These disempowering thoughts must then be replaced with empowering ones. You must ask yourself: How can I view or do things differently, to help myself feel better and live a greater life?

It’s essential to transform destructive thoughts into ones that make you feel better in the moment. Sarah reminded herself that she was worthy of love, regardless of how others might behave towards her. She said, ‘I love myself and that is enough. The love I give myself will be given back to me by someone who truly cares about me.’

To add substance to these empowering thoughts, think back to times when you truly felt the way you want to feel. Sarah came up with a memory in which she felt worthy, confident and loved. She held this scene in her head and relived the moment.

This technique not only boosts confidence, but it may also bring forth a solution. You may remember something you did during a similar situation in the past that helped you to manage it.

5. Visualize: Visualize yourself handling the emotion you’re currently feeling – in the future. As you do this, not only will your vibration increase, but you’ll also begin to create an autonomous association with that emotion that’ll enable your brain to handle it for you effortlessly down the line.

You can do this over and over again, each time stretching your imagination and making it more real in your mind’s eye.

Repetition is the key to mastery. If you rehearse over and over again a situation in which you deal with the emotion, you’ll know exactly how to manage it next time it comes up in your life.


Awareness of the present

Every second you spend thinking about the next moment you avoid embracing the present. Ensure your life isn’t lived entirely in your head.

With global advances in technology, our society is becoming more engrossed in personal gadgets than in world around them. We hold our phones more than we hold real conversations, and each other. We’re so busy looking down at screens and engaging in digital interactions that we forget about the environment around us.

It seems people would rather experience an event through a camera than use their eyes to enjoy what’s in front of them. Concert audiences are lit up by the shimmering of phone screens. This isn’t to say that we shouldn’t capture mementos of these precious times. But living through a screen prevents us from being present in the moment.

As we continue to distract ourselves from the present moment, we become more anxious, fearful and stressed. Worries overwhelm us in our everyday lives because we’re now conditioned to live elsewhere, rather than right here. What’s more, we ignore the people around us and our personal relationships pay the price.

This is often why we feel distressed, disconnected and lost. Our vibration is lowered because we feel like we’re in some imagined situation that doesn’t match up with our lived reality. We relive moments of the past, fear the future and create obstacles in our minds. We devote creative energy to destructive ideas – and this invites turmoil into our lives.

Now is the only time you have. Once your past is gone, it doesn’t exist, no matter how many times you recreate it mentally. The future hasn’t even arrived; but again, you keep taking yourself there mentally. Tomorrow comes disguised as today and some of us don’t even notice. Nothing is more valuable than the present moment because you can never get it back. You may create a visual memory that you can retrace, but physically you cannot experience it again.

Think about a time when you completely forgot to check the clock or look at your phone. Perhaps you were around the people you love, or doing something you enjoy. You were so engrossed in the moment that you had no time to worry about the past or the future. You were simply enjoying where you were. This is what’s known as being in the present moment.

Technology is a tool, not a substitute for living.

As we’ll explore later in this book, planning for the future is vital in order to meet your goals, but we shouldn’t spend too much time there. When you think about it, the present is still the future, disguised as now. Ten years ago you may have considered the future to be this exact point in your life. The future is today.

In my early twenties, if I knew I was going out on a Saturday night, I’d want every other day to hurry up. I was wishing away my precious time – time I’d never get back. Once Saturday arrived, and then passed, I moved on to focus on another day on which I was planning something exciting… and sometimes that was weeks away!

This is also the premise of life. Once we’re born, every 24 hours we’re moving one day closer towards our death. The future we’re constantly waiting for arrives only as the present. Once it arrives, it passes by so quickly we don’t even notice. We quickly switch our attention to anticipating the next moment, and then the next, and on and on.

This is how most of us live. We wake up to get through the day and then go back to sleep. We do this 365 times a year. We wait for success, love, happiness to show up, never really aware of what we have in the present moment. Eventually, we realize that we’ve never really lived. Or we finally have the riches we wanted yet we can’t enjoy them because there’s always something else to achieve.

We make life all about a future that exists only in our imagination and completely miss what’s happening in front of us.

We could say the same about the past. Although we might have fond memories that we enjoy revisiting every now and again, we must learn to accept that once the past is gone, it cannot be changed. We can only reconstruct or alter it in our minds.

The meditation exercise that I’ll discuss next can help you connect to the present. By developing awareness of the present moment, we can maintain a higher vibration because we avoid being paralysed by past pain or future fear.


Meditate

Meditation is growing in popularity and receiving praise from all directions: from occupational therapists to mainstream media, people from myriad different backgrounds are talking about the benefits of meditative work. But to the uninitiated, meditation practice can appear daunting, time-consuming and difficult to get to grips with. I personally avoided it for many years for these exact reasons.

Like many people, I planned to meditate but never quite got round to it. When I finally began, I found it awkward and wasn’t sure if I was doing it right, or if it was working. My practice was inconsistent and I struggled to see how it could be of benefit to me. Once I looked deeper into it, however, I realized that I hadn’t understood meditation as well as I’d thought. I’d overcomplicated it.

Once I committed myself to 30 consecutive days of focused meditation, I began to feel a difference.

After a year of practising for 15 minutes a day, I noticed incredible changes within myself. Significantly, I found myself feeling angry far less often – something that had troubled me in the past. My rage was absent during situations identical to earlier events that had provoked an intense emotional response.

I also noticed a new ability to remain calm and at peace in the midst of chaos. I had more conscious control over my thoughts. As a result, I felt more joyful more often.

I couldn’t ignore these changes.

Meditation eases the resistance that your ego creates. This brings a sense of calm, clarity and enhanced patience. I learn profound lessons from intuitive thoughts during my practice, and this access to my inner wisdom illuminates answers to any questions I’ve been struggling with. When I need to raise my vibration, I know that meditation will restore good feelings.

This might seem strange. Many people think the goal of meditation is to clear the mind of thoughts. But this is a misconception: actually, meditation is really concentration. Meditation helps you arrive at conscious awareness of the present moment – and that’s a powerful tool to use in every part of your life.

You practise meditation by being fully present in the moment via your senses, while calmly observing your thoughts, emotions and bodily sensations – from a distance, without judgement.

I’d like to take you through a short relaxation meditation that you can do right now. You just need a pen, some paper and a quiet moment.

Meditate now – a step-by-step guide

1. Use your intuition to assess your level of energy. How would you rate your vibration level from one to 10, if one is I feel low and I don’t want to do anything, and 10 is I feel great, peaceful and full of joy. Write down the first number that pops into your head – and don’t question it.

2. Now we’ll begin to move to a meditative state. Find somewhere you can completely relax, sitting or standing, with your eyes open at this stage.

Wherever you are, become aware of your body.

Are you sitting?

Are you standing?

How does your spine feel?

Don’t change anything. Just become conscious of your physical body.

3. Now become conscious of your breathing. Just observe. Let the air go deep into your lungs, and then breathe out. Now, as you take a deep breath, imagine you’re filling your lungs with as much air as possible, then expelling all the stale air as you exhale.

Feel your belly moving up and down with every breath. Feel your chest move up and down with every breath.

4. Now look around you. Notice the colours and the patterns you see, without judgement. Just observe. Let your eyes absorb all that’s around you. And then slowly close your eyes.

Watch what comes to the screen of your mind.

Let your thoughts pass by, no pressure. There’s no right or wrong. Relax your eyelids while you observe what comes and goes within your mind. And keep noticing the pattern of your breath: in, out; expansion and contraction.

5. Listen to the sounds around you.

Where do they come from?

What are the tones?

Are there any sounds that stand out?

Can you distinguish between background and foreground sounds? And now you can listen to the sound of your breath. In and out.

6. Bring your awareness to your entire body. Is there any tension? There’s no need to change anything. Simply notice any sensations in your body.

Are there any feelings or emotions arising right now? What are they? Where in your body are they located?

Observe, feel and listen. Stay still for the next minute. When you’re ready, slowly start to move your hands and feet.

And then open your eyes.

7. This is the end of the exercise, so let’s check your level of energetic vibration. How would you rate your vibration level now? Write down your number. Is it higher than before? If not, you can do the exercise again. Eventually you’ll find that this brief practice raises your vibration.

If you struggle to remember the steps above, try recording them on your phone so that your voice can guide you through them. Speak slowly and clearly, and allow pauses for silence while you read the instructions.

Meditation is far from being complicated. Buddhist master Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche claims that to meditate you need only to be aware of your breath10: when you breathe with awareness, you’re meditating. It’s as simple as that – and that’s why you can meditate anywhere, at any time.

Everything and anything done in a state of conscious awareness can be meditation – even the washing-up.

Try it for 15 minutes a day, for 30 consecutive days. If that seems too much, start with five minutes and build up gradually.

Breathing is such an important part of our life. I mean, really – if we don’t breathe, we don’t live. We inhale and life starts, and as life ends, we exhale. That’s why it’s said that with every breath there’s transformation occurring within us. We die and are reborn with every breath that we take.

It’s through breath that we reinforce our vital force, our life energy – often referred as manapranachi or ki, among numerous other names, depending on the spiritual tradition. With each breath, we’re allowing life force energy to enter every cell of our body so it can vibrate with new life. As we take fuller and more controlled breaths, this enables our nervous system to calm us down, increasing our vibration.

Meditation breaks down the walls of our conditioned mind and gives us an opportunity to become more authentic. As you meditate more often, you’ll gain perspective on the restricting thoughts you’ve been playing over in your mind.




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